Maybe you have recently gotten knocked up, or maybe you’re talking about the possibility with your partner and wondering how, as a freelancer, you will ever be able to “take time off” (HA!) to go through a pregnancy and a kid or two.
Well, welcome to the world of unknowns! Some of us here at Seed are going through the same thing, and here’s what we can offer you by way of advice: Pregnancy isn’t really that much of a hindrance to your regular working schedule. In fact, it’s a boon in some ways, because all of a sudden you realize that YOU NEED TO MAKE AS MUCH MONEY AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE IN A VERY SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME and you become very creative in terms of coming up with ways to do that.
Here are some suggestions, though, for other things to keep in mind, whether you’re already a preggo or just in the planning stages.
Go Easy On Yourself
This might sound counterintuitive to the whole MAKE AS MUCH MONEY AS YOU CAN RN WITHOUT DELAY idea, but hear me out. You might be one of those lucky ladies who sails through the first trimester without so much as an errant belch. But more than likely, you’re going to experience some symptoms, and often chief among those symptoms is a whopping, clobbering exhaustion that leaves you wanting to sleep 12 hours a day and also take a few naps.
If this applies to you, just give in to it. You won’t get any work done if the best you can do is struggle to keep your eyes open. But more than that, here’s a sweet little sidebar: This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. Once upon a time, you made a very difficult decision to forego the promise of regular paychecks in favor of the freelancer’s life. Now it pays off. You don’t have to go into an office and you make your own schedule. So go ahead and nap in the middle of the day if you damn well please. Don’t feel bad about taking advantage of it. We’re not suggesting you abandon all semblance of normalcy, but if you can’t make your usual 7 a.m. wake-up time, just go ahead and sleep in.
Block Out Your Time Carefully
There is a lot — a lot — of information out there on the interwebs and in bookstores about pregnancy. Without going into the details, one could easily make a full-time job out of reading it, getting overwhelming by it, and then reading it again. Don’t fall into this trap! Sure, you’re going to want to know what foods you can and can’t eat, what that strange feeling in your abdomen means, and what fruit your growing baby is now the same size as.
But in order to make sure that you don’t wake up, start reading about babies, and then realize that it’s time for dinner, block off time for pregnancy-related reading and research just as you would any other project. Maybe that means setting aside one hour every night after you’ve finished your other work. Maybe it means leaving it all for the weekend. Either way, set a schedule and stick to it.
Stock Your Fridge
This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you’re working from home and don’t stock your cabinets in advance, you will be surprised by how much time you can waste by going to and from the grocery store for whatever food you need RIGHT NOW. You can’t predict every single craving, but you can have all the basics lying around, like crackers, yogurt, sweet stuff, salty stuff, and very filling (preferably bland-flavored) stuff.
This is particularly important if you’re trying to manage first trimester (and, sorry, maybe second trimester) nausea; an empty stomach will worsen the nausea, thereby making you yak, thereby causing you to lose more precious time in front of the computer when you could be stacking that cash. So even if you do wind up having to make a quick afternoon run for, I don’t know, matzo ball soup or something, try to minimize the amount of time you spend going back and forth from Trader Joe’s by having as many creative (and healthy!) groceries on hand as possible.
Start a Savings Account for After You Give Birth
Ah yes, the primary drawback of having a kid while freelancing; you don’t get any paid time off. That means you have to be your own paid time off. The good news, though, is that the math is easy. Figure out how much time you think you want to take off after giving birth — maybe it’s one month, maybe it’s three — and then figure out how much that adds up to in basic expenses (rent, bills, gas, groceries… and now, diapers). This is a very similar process as making sure that you always have three months’ worth of expenses saved up in your regular savings account.
Now, of course, you’re saving for two.